Episode 14: Kaj Tanaka | University of Houston

Have you ever wondered how contest winners are selected? Kaj Tanaka of the University of Houston takes us behind the scenes of Gulf Coast’s Barthelme Prize for Short Prose. He and Jared also talk about building tension in a story, careers in prison education, and what he learned from his BFA and MFA that influences his PhD work today.

Kaj Tanaka is a PhD candidate in fiction at the University of Houston. His fiction has appeared in
New South, The New Ohio Review, Joyland and Tin House. His stories have been selected for Best Small Fictions, Best Microfiction, and Wigleaf's top 50. Kaj teaches creative writing classes at the Harris County Jail in Houston, TX. He is the online reviews and interviews editor for Gulf Coast. Find him at kajtanaka.com or tweet to him @kajtanaka.


· Not-Knowing by Donald Barthelme
· Lydia Davis, writer
· The Red Calvary by Isaac Babel
· Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson 
· George Saunders, writer
· Carmen Maria Machado, writer
· Writers in the Schools (WITS), organization that promotes creative writing among children in Houston 
· Inprint, literary non-profit in Houston
· Grackle and Grackle, writing workshops in Houston

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